Barbara Thostenson Caldwell, from Hanley Falls and a longtime resident of Albuquerque, NM. passed away peacefully on December 5, 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 84. Barbara had been a resident of Manzano del Sol Good Samaritan Village in Albuquerque, NM since August, 2012, while she patiently waited to join the heavenly choir.
Services remembering Barbara’s life will be held at the Yellow Medicine Lutheran Church in Hanley Falls at 2:00 p.m. on May 17, followed by interment in the family gravesite in Hanley Falls.
Barbara Thostenson Caldwell, the youngest of six children, was born on the Thostenson homestead outside of Hanley Falls, on October 20, 1928 to Ole and Anna (Trovatten) Thostenson. She was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith and went to elementary school in the local one room schoolhouse in the country. She graduated from Granite Falls High School, where she was a cheerleader and homecoming queen, in 1945. She sang in the choir in the Lutheran church in Granite Falls, and then attended college at St Augustana College in Sioux Falls. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul in spring of 1951 with a degree in Education, majoring in Music. Before and following graduation, Barbara briefly taught in high school, producing and directing operettas for the Jewish Settlement House. In September, 1951, Barbara married John Caldwell at the Yellow Medicine Lutheran Church in Hanley Falls, and they had three children, Elizabeth, John and David. Over the years, the family lived in many places, including Gainesville, Florida; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and moving to Mountain Home, Idaho in 1966. After Barbara divorced in 1977, she moved to Boise, Idaho briefly, before moving on to Sante Fe, New Mexico in 1978 where she opened and ran several antique shops. Barbara made her final move to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1981, where she spent the rest of her life.
Barbara taught piano and voice in schools and the home for several years in Florida and San Francisco. She worked as an executive secretary for Boeing in Seattle, and then worked selling Avon for many years in Mountain Home, Idaho. After moving to Albuquerque, Barbara worked as a home health care aide for over 20 years, taking care of home bound seniors on a live-in basis. She loved that work the most, and enjoyed many hours conversing with her clients. After open heart surgery in 2004, Barbara was forced to retire, and moved to La Resolana independent living, where she lived until her final visit to the hospital. She was active in different area churches over the years, and served in leadership positions for the Order of Eastern Star and Amaranth in Mountain Home, and Boise, Idaho. Barbara truly loved people, and excelled in teaching music, selling Avon, and working with seniors providing them comfort and support. Even in her final years at La Resolana in Albuquerque, Barbara held leadership positions in the tenant organization, and made many friends during her seven year stay. Many appreciated Barbara’s expansive knowledge of antiques, especially older wall clocks. She will truly be missed.
Page 2 of 2 - Barbara was preceded in death by her parents Ole and Anna Thostenson, her oldest brother Thorborn who was killed in the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, and her oldest sister Helen Jones who passed in 2011. Barbara will also join her two grandchildren Alexandra and Evan Caldwell who preceded her from this earthly plane in 2002. As she has passed peacefully from this life, she will once again join her loved ones and rejoice in singing the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Barbara is survived by her remaining siblings Alton Thostenson of Lewiston, Idaho; Kathleen Ward of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Hiram (Gladys) Thostenson of Montevideo. Barbara is also survived by her children: Elizabeth (Tom) Barnett of Anchorage, Alaska; John (Melissa) Caldwell of Farmington, New Mexico; and David Caldwell of Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as grandchildren Erinn and Britton Barnett, Graham Caldwell, and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held for one hour prior to services commencing at 2:00 p.m. at the church. Burial will be in the family plot in the Yellow Medicine Lutheran Cemetery in Hanley Falls.
The Sunset Funeral and Cremation Association of Echo and Wabasso, are handling the arrangements for the family. Condolences may be sent to Sunset Funeral Home in Echo, Minnesota. Blessed be her memory.